China’s shift toward alternative fuels in order to cut its reliance on imported oil is creating large opportunities, notably in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and in the conversion of coal to ethanol, according to a new report from Lux Research. China is seeking to reduce its imports of oil from... Read more →


DOE awarding about $16M to four projects for advanced gasification systems; focus on coal

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected four projects to receive funding for next-generation gasification systems. Awardees will receive approximately $16 million to advance the gasification process, which converts carbon-based materials such as coal into syngas for use as power, chemicals, hydrogen, and transportation fuels. Gasification plants have the... Read more →


Preparation procedure for the BN-GQD/G nanocomposite. Credit: ACS, Fei et al. Click to enlarge. A team at Rice University has created a hybrid material combining graphene quantum dots (GQDs) and graphene platelets that can—depending upon its formulation—outperform platinum as a catalyst for fuel cells. The material showed an oxygen reduction... Read more →


DOE to award $9M to promote consensus on future fossil energy technologies

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy will award $9 million over five years to organizations to assist it in building domestic and international consensus on future fossil energy technologies (DE-FOA-0001111). The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) anticipates two awards being made: the first for $7 million in... Read more →


Click to enlarge. In its sixth sales-weighted analysis of emissions from 8 major automakers’ 2013 model year vehicles, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) latest Automaker Rankings report found that Hyundai-Kia unseated Honda as the “Greenest Automaker.” Honda came in second, with Toyota, Nissan, and Volkswagen in a three-way tie... Read more →


DOE soliciting projects in advanced coal gasification for high carbon-capture power production and/or liquid fuels

The US DOE is soliciting (DE-FOA-0001051) projects for up to $10 million in awards to target technological advancements to lower the cost of producing hydrogen and/or high-hydrogen syngas from coal for use in 90% carbon capture power generation and/or gasification-based liquid (transportation) fuel production: methanol or diesel. Liquid fuel production... Read more →


KHI’s view of a “CO2-free hydrogen chain”. Source: KHI. Click to enlarge. The Nikkei reports that Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) will build the first ocean-going ships to carry liquefied hydrogen (LH2), with plans for a demonstration test by 2017 in which liquefied hydrogen will be shipped from the state... Read more →


EPA proposes CO2 emission standards for new fossil fuel-fired power plants

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed Clean Air Act standards to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants (electric utility generating units, EGUs). For purposes of this rule, fossil fuel-fired EGUs include utility boilers, IGCC units and certain natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbine EGUs that generate electricity... Read more →


DOE issues $13M funding opportunity for advanced coal gasification systems for power or fuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000784) for up to $13 million to support the development of advanced coal gasification systems. DOE anticipates making 5 awards under the FOA. There will be three (3) Areas of Interest (AOIs) under the FOA. The first two—Coal... Read more →


Senators Sanders, Boxer propose legislation to institute GHG price on large stationary sources and remove support for fossil fuel industries

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would set an escalating fee on greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources to fund investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies and also provide rebates to consumers to offset increases in energy prices. The legislation also proposes... Read more →


Celanese TCX production process. Click to enlarge. Celanese Corporation has entered into a Joint Statement of Cooperation to advance the development of fuel ethanol projects with Pertamina, the state-owned energy company of Indonesia. Pertamina will collaborate exclusively with Celanese jointly to develop synthetic fuel ethanol projects in the Republic of... Read more →


Scanning electron micrograph of wood being decayed by the white rot fungus Punctularia strigoso-zonata. (Robert Blanchette, University of Minnesota) Click to enlarge. Coal deposits—the fossilized remains of plants—were formed during a 60-million year period from around 360 to 300 million years ago. A team of 71 researchers from 12 countries,... Read more →


World primary energy consumption grew by 2.5% in 2011, close to the historical average. Oil remains the world’s leading fuel, but its 33.1% share of consumption is the lowest on record. Coal’s market share of 30.3% was the highest since 1969. Source: BP. Click to enlarge. Global energy consumption grew... Read more →


Flow diagram of coal tar hydrogenation process. Credit: ACS, Kan et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers in China report the production of gasoline and diesel from coal tar via an optimized catalytic hydrogenation using two serial fixed beds, the first with a hydrofining catalyst of MoNi/γ-Al2O3 and the second with... Read more →


Overview of the Bluegas catalytic coal methanation process. Click to enlarge. GreatPoint Energy and China Wanxiang Holdings have officially closed their investment and partnership agreement which was highlighted during an official signing ceremony between senior US and Chinese government officials in 2012. As part of the transaction, GreatPoint Energy has... Read more →


Updated NETL study provides more detailed economic and environmental assessment of coal-to-liquids and CTL with modest biomass

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has released a follow-on study to its 2009 evaluation of the economic and environmental performance of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) and CTL with modest amounts of biomass mixed in (15% by weight) for the production of zero-sulfure diesel fuel. (Earlier post.) The new study expands upon... Read more →


US DOE to award up to $3M for coal-biomass-to-liquid projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to a total of $3 million to projects (1) to develop and to test novel technologies for the economical and environmentally-sustainable conversion of coal-biomass feedstocks to liquid transportation fuels (CBTL) and (2) to assess concepts and evaluate the feasibility of building... Read more →


The Pew survey found a 10 percentage point shift in favor of expanded fossil fuel production from March 2011 to March 2012. Data: Pew Research Center. Click to enlarge. As fuel prices rise, a new Pew Research Center survey has found that 52% of Americans now say the more important... Read more →


President’s Jobs Council recommends an “All-in” energy strategy; from fossil fuels and pipelines, to efficiency, renewables and vehicle electrification

In its 2011 year-end report, Road Map to Renewal, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council) made a number of recommendations to create jobs in the short run and improve US competitiveness over the long term. Very broadly, the report lays out an agenda to “Invest in Our... Read more →


Update on Celanese plans for commercialization of TCX hydrocarbons-to-ethanol process; scale and economics

Celanese Corporation, developer of a hydrocarbons-to-ethanol production process derived from its acetyl technology (earlier post) announced plans in June to enter the industrial ethanol market in China by revamping the market entry strategy to allow the company to enter 6-12 months sooner than originally planned. (Earlier post.) In a recent... Read more →


DOE to award up to $14M to 6 new projects to advance IGCC with carbon capture technology for coal-fired plants

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $14 million to six projects aimed at developing technologies to lower the cost of producing electricity in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants using carbon capture. The selected projects are intended to improve the economics of IGCC plants and... Read more →


The TCEP would integrate coal gasification, combined-cycle power generation, CO2 capture, and urea production. CO2 capture and shipment via pipeline shown at top. Click to enlarge. Summit Power Group, LLC and Blue Strategies, LLC have signed a 15-year CO2 offtake agreement with Whiting Petroleum Corporation for some of the CO2... Read more →


Terminal voltages measured at 750 °C as a function of time for the cells with (blue line) and without (red line) BaO/Ni interfaces operated at a constant current density of 500 mA cm-2 with wet CO (with ~3 v% H2O) as the fuel. Yang et al. Click to enlarge. Using... Read more →


Celanese is projecting that its new TCX ethanol process will drive substantial incremental revenue and growth opportunity. Source: Celanese. Click to enlarge. As it announced during its investor conference earlier this week, Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has increased its 2013 earnings growth objectives to adjusted... Read more →


New nickel-based catalyst could lead to more efficient production of biomass-derived fuels and chemicals

Chemists at the University of Illinois report the development of a nickel-based homogeneous catalyst that could more effectively support the production of fuels and chemical feedstocks from biomass as well as improved liquefaction of coal. A paper on their work is published in the current issue of Science. The catalyst... Read more →


RAND study concludes use of alternative fuels by US military would convey no direct military benefit; recommends energy efficiency instead

If the US military increases its use of alternative jet and naval fuels that can be produced from coal or various renewable resources, including seed oils, waste oils and algae, there will be no direct benefit to the nation’s armed forces, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Any benefits... Read more →


GSI/UNEP conference report finds fossil-fuel subsidy reform “complex” and challenges “sobering”; ~1% of global GDP spent on fossil-fuel subsidies

Although momentum behind reforming subsidies for fossil fuels (for both consumers and producers) worldwide has gained significant momentum during the past few years, and although the benefits of subsidy reform seem evident, countries’ experience of reform and the challenges involved are “sobering”, according to a recently published report from a... Read more →


Celanese signs MOU with Wison for coal-derived syngas for ethanol production in China; transaction value approx. $815M

Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Wison (China) Holding Co., Ltd., a Chinese synthesis gas supplier, for the production of certain feedstocks used in Celanese’s advanced ethanol production process. (Earlier post.) Wison plans to invest in a coal gasification unit... Read more →


In both the base-case and a scenario with more aggressive environmental policies, CO2 emissions from energy use remain well above the IEA 450 scenario. Click to enlarge. World energy growth over the next twenty years is expected to be dominated by emerging economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil... Read more →


Two decoupling approaches applied in developing DCG technologies. The shaded rounded rectangles represent the major component reactions in gasification. Credit: ACS, Zhang et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the State Key Laboratory of Multiphase Complex System, Institute of Process Engineering (IPE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) are proposing a... Read more →


Fuel provisions in the Tax Relief bill

US President Barack Obama on Friday signed H.R. 4853, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (“Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010”). The bill, among its other provisions, contains a number of provisions related to energy (Title VII, Subtitle A) and within that, provisions... Read more →


Greenhouse has (GHG) index (top) and GHG avoided values for all 16 Fischer-Tropsch liquids systems analyzed along with those for ethanol (with and without CCS). GHGI of 1 is equivalent to fossil-fuel products. Credit: ACS, Liu et al. Click to enlarge. A detailed study by researchers from China and the... Read more →


Estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions over the lifetime of the QCLNG project. More than half the emissions come from the LNG facility. Source: QCLNG EIS. Click to enlarge. BG Group has approved implementation of the first phase of a US$15-billion project to convert coal seam gas (CSG) to LNG—the first... Read more →


LanzaTech in Coal to Ethanol Project in China; New Bio Energy Research Center

New Zealand-based Lanzatech, the developer of gas fermentation technology for producing ethanol and high value chemicals (e.g.: MEK, Butadiene) from industrial waste gases, has signed a memorandum of understanding with one of the largest coal producers in China, Henan Coal and Chemical Industrial Corporation, to build a demonstration plant to... Read more →


DOE Selects 8 Projects to Advance Technologies for the Co-Production of Power and Hydrogen, Fuels or Chemicals from Coal-Biomass Feedstocks

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 8 research projects for funding that will focus on gasification of coal/biomass to produce synthetic gas (syngas) as a pathway to producing power, hydrogen, fuel or chemicals. The total value of the projects is approximately $8.2 million, with $6.4 million of DOE... Read more →


Federal Task Force Concludes CCS is Viable, But Carbon Price Is Critical; Sends Recommendations to President Obama on Fostering the Technology

President Obama’s Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), co-chaired by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), delivered a series of recommendations to the president on overcoming the barriers to the widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years. The report concludes... Read more →


DOE Awarding More Than $3.3M to 7 Universities To Conduct Advanced Turbine Technology Studies for Advanced Coal-Based Power Generation

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding more than $3.3 million to 7 universities to conduct advanced turbine technology studies under the Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) University Turbine Systems Research (UTSR) Program. The universities—located in Georgia, Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, California, and New York—will investigate the technology needed... Read more →


Study Concludes “Peak Coal” Will Occur Close to 2011

A multi-Hubbert analysis of coal production by Tadeusz Patzek at The University of Texas at Austin and Gregory Croft at the University of California, Berkeley concludes that the global peak of coal production from existing coalfields will occur close to the year 2011. The HHV of global production is likely... Read more →


Life-cycle GHG emissions from fossil and alternative sources of electricity. Credit: ACS, Kharecha et al.Click to enlarge. CO2 emissions from US coal-fired power plant could be phased out entirely by 2030 using existing technologies or ones that could be commercially competitive with coal within about a decade, according to a... Read more →


NETL Soliciting R&D Projects for Co-Production of Power, Fuels, and Chemicals via Coal/Biomass Mixtures

The US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has issued a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) soliciting research projects that will address key challenges related to the utilization of coal-biomass mixtures for co-production of power and hydrogen, fuels, and/or chemicals. NETL estimates total program funding for the cooperative... Read more →


DOE Seeking Comments on Report on Research Strategy for Developing Unconventional Fossil Energy Resources

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking comments from industry and academia on a draft report outlining domestic unconventional fossil energy resource opportunities and associated technology applications, in support of an overall strategy for the further development of these resources. The report, Unconventional Fossil Energy: Domestic Resource Opportunities and... Read more →


Accelergy Begins Production of Synthetic Jet Fuel from Coal and Biomass; USAF to Evaluate for 100% Synthetic Fuel Use

Accelergy Corporation has begun production of a synthetic fuel from coal and biomass, to be evaluated by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the industry benchmark for 100% synthetic jet fuel. To date, biomass-derived synthetic paraffinic kerosenes (SPK) have required blending with petroleum feedstocks on a 50% basis to... Read more →


ACS Puts a Focus on Sustainability

The current issue of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) JACS Select has, for the first time, drawn content from two ACS journals—JACS and Environmental Science & Technology—under the theme of “Harnessing Energy for a Sustainable World”. The 11 papers selected from JACS concern materials and methods for energy production and... Read more →


Peabody Energy and GreatPoint Energy To Partner on Coal-to-Gas and Coal-to-Hydrogen Facilities with Carbon Capture and Storage

Overview of the bluegas catalytic coal methanation process. Click to enlarge. Peabody Energy and GreatPoint Energy signed an agreement to pursue development of coal-to-gas and coal-to-hydrogen projects in the United States and around the world with carbon capture and storage (CCS) that would achieve near-zero carbon emissions, while increasing the... Read more →


Catalytic performance on the bifunctional catalysts. CZA is unpromoted, CZA-Zr is promoted with Zr; CZA-Ga is promoted with Ga. Credit: ACS. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the Petroleum Displacement Technology Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT), have developed new bi-functional catalysts, promoted with Zr (Zirconium) or Ga... Read more →


Underground Coal Gasification Company In Partnership to Test Alkaline Fuel Cells for Power Generation

Australia-based underground coal gasification (UCG) company Linc Energy (earlier post) has signed an exclusive agreement with the UK-based alkaline fuel cell technology company AFC Energy Plc and its related company, B9 Coal (earlier post). The agreement gives Linc Energy the exclusive right to test the AFC Fuel Cell Technology on... Read more →


US and China Presidents Announce US-China Electric Vehicles Initiative, Six Other Measures to Strengthen Cooperation Between the Countries on Energy Issues

In Beijing, US President Barack Obama and China President Hu Jintao announced a package of seven measures to strengthen cooperation between the United States and China on clean energy, including: a Clean Energy Research Center; Electric Vehicles Initiative; Energy Efficiency Action Plan; Renewable Energy Partnership; 21st Century Coal; Shale Gas... Read more →


Underground coal gasification uses paired wells in a coal seam: one an oxidant injection well, the other the syngas producer well. Source: CIRI. Click to enlarge. Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI), an Alaska Native corporation, is proposing an underground coal gasification (UCG) project that would use the resulting syngas to... Read more →


Illustration of the carbon capture plant. Click to enlarge. A pilot project by We Energies, Alstom and The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) testing an Alstom advanced chilled ammonia process (earlier post) has demonstrated more than 90% capture of carbon dioxide from the flue stream of a coal-fueled power plant... Read more →


Accelergy’s Integrated Coal to Liquids platform is the basis for the Integrated Carbon to Liquids initiative. Source: Accelergy. Click to enlarge. Accelergy Corporation, an advanced coal-to-liquids company, and A2BE Carbon Capture LLC, an algae photobioreactor company, have formed the Carbon Cycle Technology Alliance to commercialize a platform for Integrated Carbon... Read more →